I lord over the canyon: sweeping views greet me as I hang from a twist of rope and metal. My hands are white with chalk and red with blood. The rush is incomparable. I’ve snorkeled with sharks, ziplined over lush forests, hiked through weeks of trails, but nothing has ever felt like this. My friends yell their congratulations from below and I take one last look at the red rocks before plunging back into the canyon and toward solid ground.
If you’ve ever had a rush like that, you know that it doesn’t just go away — you hunger for more. So for all you adrenaline junkies out there, this post is for you. See the best places to try these extreme sports around the world!
Whitewater Rafting — Nepal
Little did you know, Nepal is actually one of the world’s premier rafting destinations. With rivers that are perfect for beginners as well as swells that can throw even the most experienced rafter overboard, it’s no wonder people around the globe are itching to try their hand at rafting in this country. Catch sweeping views of the jungle and mountain scenery as you tackle fierce Class III and IV rapids (those are the hardest ones).
Sandboarding — Dubai
Sure, you could snowboard in Colorado… OR you could sandboard in Dubai. Already a super trendy destination, Dubai never fails to entertain — and this extreme sport takes the cake. Roam out into the desert aboard a 4×4 and try your hand at boarding down the beautiful sandunes. Plus, you don’t have to wear any heavy winter clothes — you’ll be skating down the dunes in your shorts. Cowabunga!
Swimming With Sharks — Hawaii
We’re talking out of a cage. And guess what? It’s not just for people who like to flirt with death. One Ocean Diving, the company that runs the most popular dives off of Oahu‘s North Shore, has a mission to break down the negative stereotypes about sharks that have contributed to the marine animal’s dwindling populations. Get up close and personal with galapagos, sandbar, and tiger sharks in the wide open ocean!
Rock Climbing — China
One of the world’s best spots for rock climbing — whether you want to boulder, sport, or trad climb — is China. One of the most popular (and most easily accessible) places is White River in the Beijing suburbs. It’s considered to be the birthplace of climbing in China, a sport that started gaining mass popularity in the early 1980s. With over 100 varied routes to choose from, it’s no wonder climbers from all over head to White River to check it out.
Paragliding — Mozambique
460 miles off of the shores of the mainland is the Bazaruto Archipelago — and island made of white sandy beaches surrounded by clear waters. The towering sand dunes provide the perfect starting point for a paragliding adventure: Sail over the island’s picturesque beaches and shallow waters and enjoy the best views (and thrills!) that an extreme sport can give you!
Volcano Boarding — Nicaragua
Ever wanted to bolt down the side of a volcano at 60 miles per hour on a narrow wooden board? Us too! And now we can in Nicaragua. Created in 2004, volcano boarding is a sport developed in the country — and people love it! Adrenaline seekers from across the world flock to Nicaragua to try their hand at sliding down a mountain on a board that looks like those old-school sleds. You should be next!
Heli Skiing — Switzerland
High in the Swiss Alps, adventurous skiers and snowboarders are getting the chance of a lifetime: Helicoptering up to the top of mountains layered with virgin snow… Then skiing or boarding down the fresh powder. Yup. Helo Skiing is totally bad-ass — and a huge rush. You can also heli ski in other European countries like Italy and Austria.
Freediving — Indonesia
Though humans have been freediving — diving at scuba-level depths on one breath of air — for millennia, it’s just now becoming an activity that travelers seek out. And Indonesia’s clear island waters provides some of the best freediving opportunities. Though it takes some practice, once you nail the idea of being calm underwater, your heart rate slows down and you can go deeper and deeper on just one breath.
Thru Hiking — West and East Coasts, USA
Talk about the ultimate extreme sport: Thru hiking is an activity that takes dedication — about 5 months of it. It takes backpacking to a new extreme, spending months on the trial (Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast and Appalachian Trail on the East Coast) to hike from border to border. The sport has become popularized through books like A Walk in the Woods and Wild about the AT and PCT, respectively.